Wet pitch spoils cricket
Chandra humbled by Junhui Ding
Mongia meets BCCI chief
BNR win big
Bagan lose, must win last match
Mumbai Racing/ Tap On Power may strike

West Zone 529/6 Decl.
East Zone 3/0

Calcutta, April 11: East Zone’s Duleep Trophy tie against West had seemed a dull affair till yesterday, but suddenly sprang to life on the penultimate day today with the ball flying around and the batsmen struggling for cover.

The pitfalls of leaving wickets uncovered came to the fore at Eden Gardens today as three hundred and thirty three minutes were lost because of the wet pitch after last night’s heavy rain.

Play was possible only in the last half-hour in which only six overs could be bowled.

The day got off to a bizarre start with a snake ‘greeting’ East wicketkeeper Zakaria Zuffri at the High Court end. The groundsmen, however, were quick to remove the intruder before any harm was done.

West’s decision to resume their innings did raise a few eyebrows but as skipper Hrishikesh Kanitkar admitted later, it was done to gauge the behaviour of the wicket.

Two overs from Mark Ingty and Laxmi Ratan Shukla were enough to make up Kanitkar’s mind and hurry with his declaration on the damp wicket.

The disconcerting bounce proved troublesome for both Nayan Mongia and Sairaj Bahutule and encouraged Sanjay Raul to have six men close in.

For East, the conditions proved to too alien to handle. Batsmen used to playing deliveries not above knee length had to contend with rising and moving balls. They were lucky not to escape without losing a wicket.

The batsmen were found wanting against the pace of Ajit Agarkar and Irfan Pathan. Parag Das was hit on the left upper arm in the first over off Agarkar. He struggled to stay afloat for another couple of overs but retired after complaining of severe pain.

Rashmi Ranjan Parida played four balls and was hit on the hand on one occasion. Finding no other way out, he started appealing for bad light and the umpires finally relented, much to the dislike of the West players.

Devang was the only batsman who seemed to sure in attitude and application.

“I thought the wicket was a little soft,” said Kanitkar later. He was also open to the Board experimenting with uncovered wickets.

“It’s fair enough in the sense that they are trying something new. We’ll have to see some more time to decide on the effectiveness,” he added.

East players seemed visibly upset over the umpires’ decision to resume proceedings on this wicket. “It was unfit for play,” said a player who refused to be identified.

With West assured of the title, the only interest revolves around the visitors. It remains to be seen if they can grab five points on the final day.


Calcutta, April 11: 
Junhui Ding didn’t miscue any at the Calcutta Swimming Club’s billiards and snooker hall this evening. Seventy five minutes of flawless snooker took the 15-year-old Chinese to the final of the fourth Asian under-21 championship, leaving top seed Manan Chandra a devastated man.

Ding, who has won a flock of admirers this week with his aggressive, no-nonsense approach, walloped Chandra 71-16, 94-9, 82-9, 102-25, 77-8.

The Chinese will meet Thai Pramual Janthat who rallied superbly to oust Malaysian schoolboy Keem Ho Moh five frames to four in a four-and-a-half-hour marathon.

Chandra, the beaten finalist last year, didn’t know what hit him. He had been very impressive in all his earlier matches, including the quarter final this morning when he shut out Bahrain’s Habib Humood 5-2.

In the semi-final, there was little the Delhi boy could do to check the Chinese charge. Ding was spot-on not only with his long-distance potting, but also manoeuvred the red and black balls at the business end of the table with great skill.

Often, Ding took charge early in the frame with a high risk, low percentage shot. More importantly, he consolidated on that breakthrough and rarely offered Chandra a free visit.

A break of 71 on his fourth visit in frame I and one of 84 on his fifth visit in frame II put him two up in next to no time.

The first mistake Ding made was in the third frame when he missed a relatively easy red pot. By that time, though, he had compiled a solid 65-point break to be all but sure of a 3-0 lead.

The fourth frame gave Chandra a sniff of a chance, but the edgy Indian muffed it up after stitching together 17 points. That was his best break, which tells a story of its own.

The 15-minute break at the end of the fourth frame did little to disturb Ding’s concentration. After Chandra opened proceedings with a routine shot, the Chinese piled up an amazing 46 on his very first visit. He put the frame beyond Chandra with a 24 at which point the Indian conceded the match.

Pankaj Advani, the other Indian in fray, lost out to Janthat in a tense quarter final which went the full distance earlier today. The youngster, who took the first two frames, did well to draw level from a 2-4 deficit. In the decider, Advani’s weak potting let him down. More of a billiards specialist, Advani treaded cautiously only to hand over the reins to his more experienced rival.


Quarter finals: Manan Chandra (Ind) bt Habib Humood (Bah) 43-70, 71-9, 64-29, 70-19, 82-33, 58-9; Junhui Ding (Chn) bt Pengfei Tian (Chn) 8-82, 43-63, 96-7, 76-16, 79-37, 101-30, 106-9; Pramual Janthat (Tha) bt Pankaj Advani (Ind) 36-77, 61-62, 66-41, 62-24, 57-46, 64-43, 14-102, 23-64, 58-21; Keem Ho Moh (Mal) bt Mun Kit Thean (Mal) 36-62, 76-30, 49-63, 60-27, 60-20, 66-40, 61-41.

Semi-finals: Ding bt Chandra 71-16, 94-9, 82-9, 102-25, 77-8; Janthat bt Moh 45-54, 31-56, 78-52, 56-52, 72-8, 28-62, 46-51, 87-1, 60-27.


Calcutta, April 11: 
Nayan Mongia met BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya at the Eden Gardens this evening.

The very fact that the two spoke for about 15 minutes, is in itself a positive sign where Mongia is concerned.

While Dalmiya was unavailable for comment, Mongia said it was a courtesy call.


Calcutta, April 11: 
BNR outplayed Howrah Union 8-0 in first division group A action of the BHA league today. B. Singh scored four goals while J. Kerketta, M. Topno, S. Barla and N. Surin struck once each.

In another tie, Khalsa Blues held FCI to a 1-1 draw. Sudhir Minz scored for FCI while G. Singh restored parity. CCFC beat SAI by a Amitav Manikpuri goal.

Geeta’s wish

Former national athlete Geeta Zutshi wants to coach budding athletes on a contract basis. She has already written to the SAI expressing her wish.

Geeta, was felicitated by the state Amateur Athletic Association today.


Calcutta, April 11: 
Mohun Bagan’s title hopes in the National Football League suffered a blow today when they went down 3-4 to Salgaocar in Margao.

The shocking defeat, after Mohun Bagan had taken a 3-0 lead, left the two-time champions placed second at 41 points from 21 matches.

Churchill Brothers are currently on top with 42 points and Monday’s clash between the Goan giants and Mohun Bagan in Margao will determine the champions.

Salgaocar are in third place with 38 points and stand no chance of claiming the title even if they beat East Bengal in the last round Monday.


Mumbai, April 11: 
Knocking at the door the Rehanullah Khan-trained Tap On Power may claim the Topmost Trophy, the main event at the Mumbai races on Friday. The six-year-old gelding by Cruachan out of Penpipes will be partnered by jockey P. S. Chauhan


3.30 pm: Rodeo Romeo 1. Whispering Rock 2. Rumaan 3.
4 pm: Proud ‘N’ True 1. Kintyre 2. Uber Alles 3.
4.30 pm: Tap On Power 1. Fortune’s Wheel 2. Twist Afleet 3.
5 pm: Majestic Crown 1. Tagamet 2. My Blue Moon 3.
5.30 pm: Femme Fatale 1. Clever Talk 2. Silver Storm 3.
6 pm: White Lie 1. Route To Gold 2. Magic Power 3.

Day’s Best: Tap On Power

Double: Proud ‘N’ True & Majestic Crown.

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